Spontaneous Reboots

I’ve been trying to track down the cause of a spontaneous reboot problem my system has been having lately.

I’ve updated drivers, changed sound card, checked for hardware conflicts, and nothing seems to be wrong. It can happen while on the Internet, or in the middle of a game. What are some other issues that might cause a spontaneous reboot of the system?

Specs:

Asus A7V8x-x Mainboard (Currently using the onboard LAN and Sound)
AMD AthlonXP 2500+
512MB ram (2x256MB)
MSI Geforce4 Ti 4600 Video Card
Antec PP303x power supply (300 watt)
Windows XP

If your LAN card is a LinkSys, it could be that. Some older LinkSys cards cause an exception error under XP. I had this problem after my original NIC died and I replaced it with a LinkSys NTE100. If you have oen of these cards, and the problem ony occurs when you’re connected to the internet, that could be it.

I don’t have anything constuctive to add, but when this started happening to our computer a few months ago the tech support page said it was a driver issue. Updating them didn’t help us either.

Oh you did say it was onboard LAN. Never mind. :smack:

Have you installed any new software or hardware recently?

I had an annoying problem with my PC that I finally traced to my hard drive. It wasn’t spontaneous reboots; the computer would just freeze up in the middle of things (the screen would get a little funny too). I eventually made it stop by using a different hard drive than the Seagate Barracuda I had been using; turns out the little devils have a problem with running hot and overheating.

I mention this not so much because I think it’s likely to be the cause of your problem, but just because you didn’t specify the hard drive in your list of hardware and software. When troubleshooting intermittant, pain-in-the-ass problems like this, you have to be careful not to overlook anything.

I know this may sound really dumb and obvious, but one of the first things I would do is swap my monitor and computer power cords. Leave them plugged into the same wall/power strip jack they’re currently in

I’ve done that for more than a few people and determined very quickly that the power cord was the culprit - it was shorted inside somewhere, or the plug holes were just to loose to maintain a continuous connection. Also, if the cord IS the problem, you won’t have to wait for your system to reboot (and the monitor going black suddenly would be proof positive the cord is bad :slight_smile: )

Occasionally, once the power cords were switched, the problem never recurred, indicating the cord was most likely not plugged in all the way.

If the CPU still reboots, then swap where they’re plugged into the wall/power strip. If the CPU still reboots, you can safely eliminate everything from the wall to the CPU itself from being the culprit.

Before doing anymore hardware checking (since the rest of this will most likely cost $$ unless you have spares lying around), I would then do a reinstall or format/reinstall of XP to eliminate software issues.

Next thing I would do is get another Power Supply ($30-$40, new Power Supply back to the store you got it from and put the old one back in (no sense wasting the money :slight_smile: ). From there, I would start swapping out the other parts where I could (get a cheap network and/or sound card, and disable the onboard cards in your system’s BIOS setup, another video card if you can located it, swap memory sticks, etc).

Also make sure your CPU is well ventilated, as it might (not likely, but I’ve seen it before) be getting thermally stressed. If all that doesn’t cure the reboots, I would then have to fault the mobo itself.

Hope this helps,
critter42

Open the case and point a room fan in, this should eliminate overheating as a factor. If the problem goes away or is reduced, you need to fix your cooling. Also, your power supply is seriously overloaded. Check the +5V and +12V voltages in the BIOS. If either are too high or too low, you need a new power supply ASAP, though I would strongly recommend a good 400W or higher one, anyway.

An IRQ conflict may also be at issue. One way to solve this is to disable ACPI. Go to control panel, system, hardware, device manager, computer, right click on Advanced Configuration and Power Management PC, select Update Driver, “Don’t search, I will choose the driver to install” and select Standard PC. Finally, make sure any PCI cards are in the proper slots. Generally, #1 and #5 should be left empty.

One last thing to try, install the latest chipset drivers from Viaarena.com.

I had the same problem once, and tried everything - updated drivers, pointing an external fan into the tower, changed out video cards, etc. I even paid a repairman $30 to try to find the cause, and he couldn’t. I finally decided to buy a new motherboard. When I took the old one out, two of the little cylinder things that stick up pepindicular off the motherboard (capacitors? resistors?) had leaked some brown fluid onto a 2 square inch area of the board, and it had heated up and sort of looked “sizzled”. I assume this was the cause of my troubles, since it hasn’t happened in a year and a half with the new motherboard (with everything else the same).

When my computer was doing this (sometimes it would just reboot in the middle of whatever you were doing, sometimes it would freeze) it turned out to be the hard drive. (a reading head was actually draging on a plater)

If you are running XP (and maybe 2000), turn off the automatic rebooting. Microsoft was getting tired of all the bluescreen jokes so they made Windows reboot instantly by default. In this case, you want to see the error messages. Enter Properties for My Computer, Advanced tab, Settings for Startup and Recovery, and remove the tick in Automatically Restart under System Failure. OK. OK. OK.

Then wait for it.

Had the same problem a while back. Turned out my wife had been moving the tower, looking for something, and had loosened the power cord – it was barely plugged in – and the occasional interruption of power was causing the crashes and reboots.

I plugged the cord in firmly. It’s been fine ever since.

Ok, well I’ve checked eveverything again. I’ve replaced the soundblaster back into the tower into a different slot, and got all updated drivers for it. I’ve turned off the automatic reboot on system failure option, and it now comes up as a stop error, but doesn’t list any particular device or file that is causing the trouble. However, the problem now is much less frequent. When I get the stop error again, I will copy the hex into google and see if I can get more specific info.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

Post the hex stop code here too. More pairs of eyes, and all.

Another vote for the motherboard.

I used to experience spontenous reboots as well and it turned out that the motherboard had fried some component (some resistor I think) which caused all this.

Got it repaired and its been working fine ever since.

I had the same problem as you, I’ll explained how I fixed it.

Asus A7V8x (also using the onboard lan and sound)
Ath. XP 2000+
1,024mb ddr
ATI 9700 All in Wonder
300w Antec power supply
Win 2K
(build this myself)

I added the 9700AiW and I stated having the problems you described. So I installed all the updates for everything: os, vid card, sound, etc. Still had the problem. Then, just on an impulse, I flashed the bios (get the goods at the asus site). Everything works perfectly now.
I’m not saying this will fix your machine, but it worked for me.

Could be causes by a dip in power. You wouldn’t notice it for it can be very sudden and short. Even digital clocks won’t show a dip in voltage. You would have to be looking at a light bulb to see it. It happens quite often and most people never know it. This is very hard on computers for the power comes back so sudden.

Due to this problem several years ago I installed a Holding Relay on my desk power panel. A dip in power will unlatch the relay and shut off power to the panel, this will kill my computer and all I have plugged into the panel. I have to push a manual reset button to restore power.

Well, since that one error this afternoon, it hasn’t happened since, and I’ve had this thing doing various tasks for literally hours now.
If it happens again, I will flash the ol’ ios. I know it’s not a power problem, because the Sisoft Sandra information shows that all areas of the Mainboard are receiving the correct voltage.

The two most usual culprits for random reboots would probably be heat or bad RAM, in my experience. Heat is easy to test for - as someone suggested, take the sides of the case off, and aim a fan in there (do a visual check for CPH or GPU fans covered in gunk and stopped as well; cooling is critical in all modern PC’s these days).

Bad RAM is harder to check for - if you’re not confident, it might be time to take it to a shop, if none of the other suggestions here help you. If you’re feeling brave, I am sure many ppl here could give step by step instructions for checking RAM yourself.

Lastly, it’s really useful to people who are trying to help you if you can indicate if there’s anything you can do to MAKE the machine crash. What happens if you power it on, and don’t touch it - how long does it take? Does it take longer if you try it once a day, compared to rebooting it five times in a row (heat issue, most likely). What if you play a 3d shooter game? edit a Word document? Connect to the internet?

Good luck! If you get this resolved, please post back to let us know.

abby

of course, in my first para, I mean CPU, not CPH!